Monday, October 31, 2022

Newton Running Distance + Review 4 Comparisons

Article by Michael Ellenberger

Newton Running Distance+ ($170)

The Distance+ has been Newton’s high-end, lightweight performance trainer or racing option for years. This year’s version is lighter, flashier, and (in my opinion) better than Distances of the past, though this isn’t an unabashed love. All that’s good and bad… coming up below!

I’ve said it before for the Garvity +, and for the Distance 9 and Fate 9,and I’ll say it again - Newtons, as you likely remember, have their signature lug system underfoot. And once again, as far as I can tell, this signature cushioning platform is not going anywhere (heck, Newton doesn’t even sell shoes like the MV2 with nearly-there lugs anymore!), so if you are not a fan of this cushioning, then the best I can say is that this shoe isn’t for you. For everyone else… let’s talk Distance+.

It is also important to note the Distance + is constructed of recycled materials that remove 4+ water bottles from the waste chain and is formulated to biodegrade 75% faster than standard shoes.


Official Weight: 8.0 oz / 227g

Drop: 2mm

Price: $170. 

Available now at Newton’s website.

Tester Profile

Michael is a patent attorney and graduate of Northwestern University Law School. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). Michael’s PRs include a 67:43 half-marathon (Chicago Half-Marathon) and 2:22:18 marathon from the 2022 Chicago Marathon. Michael continues to race on the roads, and is chasing a sub-2:20 marathon and potential OTQ in the future.

Upper and Fit

As on the Gravity+ I tested recently, the upper of the Distance+ is a definite standout amongst performance trainers. Even in a year where there are a lot of comfortable and well-done uppers, the lightweight (and, frankly, super cool looking) mesh here drives the shoe. I was initially skeptical of the toe “bumper” (see above), but found it unintrusive in practice. The laces are also quite good (unlike what I mentioned above, there have been a lot of lace misses this year). All told, a breathable, snug, and handsome start to the shoe - not a ton of material to deal with (if you love a supportive upper, you may find this lacking), but for a performance shoe, I’m a big fan.

I also found my 8.5 s to fit true to size. In thinking back to previous Distances I’ve worn (and reading some comments on the Newton homepage), it’s great to see that the toebox here is plenty wide (the idea being that runners will have room to expand over the metatarsal lugs). Newton has done a good job here creating a performance trainer that still is accommodating. 

Midsole and Outsole

As with last year’s Gravity+, I’m going to give you a special deal, dear reader - combine the midsole and outsole headers into one “unit” here. Why? Well, as before, it’s impossible to talk about the midsole cushioning without talking about Newton’s patented lugs, and and it’s impossible to detail the outsole without covering, you know, the lugs! You save a little reading type, I save a little typing time. 

Once again, I need to detail some technological advancements improvements over previous iterations of the Distance (including the version I tested in 2020). Here, Newton has included both its new NRG+ Foam, and an XPS+ Plating System which is made from environmentally friendly castor beans). As I detailed more in the Gravity write-up and in our review of the Motion +, that means we’ve got a new Hytrel supercritical foam Strobel board below the sockliner, a new midsole compound (the NRG+ Foam, a large-cell foam composition) and below the lugs membrane setup, the XPS+ system, which is an marked step up improvement over the older, non-plus variant (including the recent Distance 11).

As with the Gravity+, the new materials are good… but not markedly better. The cushioning foam feels modern, to be sure (and heck, much poppier than the current-generation platform in the On Cloudgo!), but it’s not something to write-home about. Moreover, and again parallel to the Gravity+,  the XPS+ “plate,” combined with Newton’s lugs that recede into air-filled chambers, provide a fun and energetic toe-off, with adequate. 

I actually noticed more of a benefit here than on last year’s Gravity, because the lightweight platform of the shoe really helps with that quick-up-quick-down sensation that really makes a Newton. That is, when these are in motion, they’re at their best - and while I don’t think they’ll replace your carbon-plated options anytime soon, they are a genuinely fun option. More on that below!


Fun! Springy! Basically… everything a performance trainer can be, short of a more rigid plate. I once again come away pleased with the performance of Newton. It’s not a shoe I reach for day-in and day-out (something about the lugs makes running feel more like a chore, to me), but when I do take them out, I’m always glad I did. 

The most enjoyable part, as I noted above, is that the lightweight build of the Distance+, coupled with lugs that load and unload quickly, make this a shoe that just feels good going up and down. In the Distance+, the quicker the cadence, the better - even if that’s at a slower pace. Not the easiest way to run, always (again, sometimes wearing Newtons does feel like work!), but worth it, in the end, for that propulsive ride.


I am guilty of sort of… forgetting about Newton, until a new, cool offering comes across my desk. And like clockwork, I’m reminded, ‘hey - this is a fun shoe!’ The Distance+ wasn’t a shoe I was dying to test (until I saw it - I mean c’mon, it looks awesome!), but I’m very glad I did. I still have some (misguided?) hope that Newton will take all its learned in uppers and midsole composition and just try out a lug-less trainer. But until then, you really can’t go wrong with the Distance+.

As in the past, these are hard shoes to really wrap up, because they sort of exist in their own world. Once again, I’m happy to say this is an improvement over Newtons past, and probably my favorite Newton trainer to date. It should win over some holdouts and skeptics, but, as always, there are those who swear off the brand without giving them a shot. To those folks, I’d say, you’re missing out!

Michael’s Score: 9.0/10


ASICS NovaBlast 3 (RTR Review)

Michael: We’re hearing rumblings (by that I mean, I have told my friends) that the NovaBlast is the best training shoe of the year. Makes it a hard comparison, eh? But in reality, both shoes are likely and fun; the ASICS undoubtedly has more underfoot and is just a more stable, easy-riding platform. The Newton is a little sharper and, as noted, takes some work to accommodate. If I was racing, I’d take the Newton (but I wouldn’t have either as my top racing picks). For logging daily miles, pick the Blast!

ASICS Noosa Tri 14 (RTR Review)

Michael: This is the show that stood out as the closest comparator - both are bright, light, drainable trainers and non-plated racers. The Noosa Tri was a pleasant surprise for me - way, way lighter than I expected, and a propulsive, engaging, and fun ride that was genuinely simple in its composition. The Newton is a a little firmer, a little less cushioned, and a little more traditional in its feel (though not by much). Honestly, it’s kind of a close call, but those preferring a more traditional ride won’t go wrong with the ASICS.

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3 (RTR Review)

Michael: Both lightweight trainers, but pretty different feels here - the Rebel is springy but (in my opinion) a little less soft, and less explosive feeling than in years past. The Newton is a little stiffer, and even less bouncy, but has a slightly higher upside - I’d rather run strides or track work in it, for example - but definitely prefer the NB for longer stuff. It’s just an easier-to-use option.

Diadora Equipe Atomo (RTR Review)

Michael: Newton and Diadora are both lesser-known, more “artisan” (my word) brands, and in my opinion, these are their best two options. But, despite its high price, I’m taking the Equipe Atomo here - it’s a lively, comfortable, and just dynamic ride that really surprised me when I put it through its test. The Newton is good - the Diadora is great!

The Newton Distance + is available from Newton HERE

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!
USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

No comments: